Africa's richest woman goes into retail

Isabel dos Santos
Isabel dos Santos. The daughter of Angola's President is ranked Africa's richest by Forbes Magazine. 

Angola’s--and Africa's-- richest woman, Isabel Dos Santos, is partnering with Sonae, Portugal’s largest retailer, to launch five new food hypermarkets in the southern Africa country, Reuters reported.

"The first hypermarket is scheduled to open sometime in 2015," the news agency reported.

Sonae is Portugal’s dominant retailer with more than 400 retail stores across the country, and is majority owned and chaired by Portuguese billionaire Belmiro de Azevedo.

It operates in the food and non-food retail sectors, selling everything from sports goods and apparel to consumer electronics and appliances.

Sonae is publicly traded on the Euronext and has over 40,000 employees in more than 20 countries.

"The company’s entry into Angola will be through a joint venture with Condis Angola, a retail investment company owned by Isabel dos Santos," Reuters reported.

The Condis-Sonae joint venture marks Isabel dos Santos’ first entry into the retail business

Isabel, the eldest daughter of President Jose Eduardo dos Santos, is Angola’s first billionaire and the richest woman in Africa with a net worth estimated by Forbes at $3 billion.

Connections

The 40-year-old studied engineering at King’s College, London and her first business opened in 1997, when she was 24, a restaurant called Miami Beach in Luanda, the Angolan capital.

In Angola, her assets include a 25 per cent stake in Unitel, one of Angola’s two mobile phone networks, and a 25 per cent stake in Banco Internacional de Credito (Banco BIC).

Her representatives deny that her holdings have any connection with her father's position.

According to Forbes, the Dos Santos family controls a huge chunk of post-war Angola’s economy.

His cousin serves as the country’s vice president.

Transparency International, the graft watchdog, recently ranked Angola 168th out of 178 countries in its corruption perception index.

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